Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Month In Review

Well gosh friends can you believe that September is just about an hour away from now? That is for my EST friends, two hours for you CST gals. I feel like I was seriously just switching my calendar to August, and with a blink of an eye here we are, a month later. It's now been a full month that I've been living in Columbia and working in my GA at CC.

On the eve of a fun vacation (which I promise you'll hear about in just a bit) and at this one month mark I find myself reflectively looking back at this past month, the changes I've been making and things I have discovered.

Things I have learned:
-How to navigate Columbia without my gps
-Drivers in Columbia are the worst I've ever experienced
-Bring a cardigan wherever I go, even during August in Cola there will be offices set at 60*
-Living by myself makes me a more tidy and organized person
-I love happy hour (ok, so I kind of already knew that)
-Columbia College loves to give free gifts called "surcies" at every event possible and so my desk is already filled with fun knicknacks
-How to use Blackboard, TutorTrac and Itams (even though I repel technology)
-Flowers will die if you forget to water or over water them
-I could live off of Yoghut
-I was born for HESA and especially for USC's program

Over this past month I have also already been able to make some great friends that I know will be in my life well into the years past graduation. I can't accredit tAdd Videohis next thought to this past month, but I think to the past five years, especially my year traveling last year. I have learned that I am finally in a point in life where I am completely content and comfortable with myself and knowing who I am. I think that this has been one of the best and most fun transitions in my life due to the amount of courage and initiative that I have developed.

After a month of a lot of learning, training and transitioning I'd say it's time for a break! I am leaving after class tomorrow to meet my best friend from home at her new place in Raleigh where we will fly out of at 8am on Thursday for Las Vegas. Cannot.contain.myself.
We'll be meeting all of our best friends from home out there to join together to celebrate the marriage of my two friends, Brittany and Curtis. Some of us (including me) will be staying at Circus Circus and I'm so pumped!

While I am pumped to be going to Vegas and spending time with my friends I'm sad to be missing out on the first South Carolina football game vs. Southern Miss which is this Thursday. Everyone keeps looking at me like I'm crazy when I say I'm sad I'll be missing a game to be in Vegas. Truth be told I've been waiting for this first game for the past five years of my life. I do not regret my choice of UNCW at all, however wish I had been more informed regarding athletic programs when choosing an undergrad institution.

I owe you all one killer post with tons of great pics when I get back from my Vegas adventure. Hopefully I can make the best of my circumstances and watch South Carolina play from a casino in Sin City....GO COCKS!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

TGIF

It's Friiiiiidayyyyy!!!

What a week it has been my friends! I had my first classes, my first ACE Coaching appointments and my first real events with the Student Activities office at CC. It's sure been a crazy, but fun week. Although it's been some fun firsts I couldn't be happier that it's Friday and that I already have a happy hour date with some fabulous ladies this evening.

I owe you all a real update which hopefully will come this weekend as I currently (somehow?) have no responsibilities. At least that are marked in my planner.

I've been thinking of some fun things to celebrate Fridays for myself as I love rewarding myself for the hard work I do during the week. And after doing tons this week (including school work just hours after getting the assignment, aren't you proud mom?) I definitely want one!

I've gotten back into the groove of hitting the gym (about time) and am thinking Fridays are going to be my day off from exercising. Maybe also a good day to treat myself to ice cream? We'll have to see about that considering I've been to the froyo place in town, Yoghut, every free chance I get/every time I pass by it.

An old Friday ritual I miss is dancing in car Friday mornings of senior year of high school. One of the radio stations at home would do an "It's Friday" segment at 7:00am as we were all pulling into the parking lot with lots of fun music and it was fabulous. Maybe I'll try and recreate some type of playlist like that?

Do y'all have any special Friday or weekend rituals? Anything fun you treat yourself to, or give yourself a break from? Don't forget that you are doing so much hard work and everyone deserves a reward every once in a while, or in my case, once a week!

I hope all of your Friday's fly until 5:00pm and then please savor every drop of your weekend until Sunday night!


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sisterly Support

So I think I'm getting back into my groove of blogging before bed to help clear my mind. I was super wound up last night after the first ACE Coach meeting and then hanging out with some HESA folks in the Vista.

One of my favorite parts of this past year was the individual relationships I made with so many absolutely wonderful Tri Sigmas. I got to meet so many different women that I bonded with and created such unique relationships. I loved seeing them grow throughout my visit, throughout the semester, the year, seeing them at Convention, cheering (pageant-mom like) when they win awards, and thanks to social networking, keeping up with them through Facebook and email.

When visiting the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, our Epsilon Kappa chapter, Beth was one of the first ladies I was able to meet. She was my dinner date while traveling to Oshkosh, and helped introduce me to the wonder that is the fried cheese curd (I know it sounds bizarre, but please try before judging). I instantly knew she was someone I would never forget! I remember her story, that she was involved in athletics and wasn't able to dedicate a lot of time to Sigma during the beginning of her membership. This past year was different however and she was selected as the Membership Recruitment Chair, ready to dig right in and make up for lost time!

I met her just after she had been elected and knew she was going to do amazing things for EK and Tri Sigma. We talked almost weekly on the phone, staying updated on recruitment progress and it was amazing to see the success the chapter was having. She brought some innovative and original ideas to their recruiting process and was (and continues to be!) genuinely invested in the well-being of her chapter and Tri Sigma's continued growth.

Receiving a message and event invitation today from Beth, I was excited to learn she is running a mini-marathon. This is one of the things on my bucket list, so this provides great encouragement for me as well! What ties me to this effort even more is that she is donating 100% of the proceeds to the Sigma Sigma Sigma Foundation, our sorority's philanthropy. Our philanthropy is an umbrella organization which promotes awareness for and raises funding for both child's play therapy programs as well as women's leadership initiatives. Read more about our Foundation here.

I know many of you reading are students or in your first jobs out in the real world. I fall into this category, but am still pledging to help Beth meet her goal of $300 It is so true that every little bit helps and that if you can even just give $1, and 20 people can do that...well I'm not good at math (jk I totally know that's $20!), but you get the point.

I encourage you to support Beth in her endeavors and I also ask you to support the Foundation as it is a philanthropy I have strong ties too. The Foundation helped to provide funding for my attendance at conferences last year while I was a Leadership Consultant, along with our Officer Academies, academic scholarships for undergraduate & graduate members and more. Of course it has also helped to fund and maintain two play atriums, one at Children's Medical Center in Dallas, TX, and the other at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

"Inspiration: I am inspired by the thousands of children who battle life threatening illnesses everyday!! I am inspired by the Millions of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority women who work to help those children everyday! I am inspired by all of you who help me as I work towards Running for Robbie"
-Beth

If you would like to learn more about Beth's race and how you can support her, view the Facebook Event here. I also encourage you to do one more thing. If there is someone else in your life who would find ties to our philanthropy, please send them the link to this post. Also, send to any Tri Sigma's you may know.

Thank you for investing time in learning about the Sigma Sigma Sigma Foundation!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My Life In One Post

So I know I have some family and friends that keep up with my blog that know exactly what's going on in my life right now. I've realized for some of you, you may not be sure exactly what it is that I'm getting myself into, or maybe you just don't know the details.

Well, I have moved to Columbia, SC for grad school at USC for the next two years, that part is pretty obvious! I am working towards a master's in Higher Education & Student Affairs, and have definitely picked a fabulous program and school to have done so.

In addition to my program I have a graduate assistantship which keeps me busy for about 20 hours (or more!) every week. I'm attending school at the University of South Carolina, but my GA (get used to the abbrevs) is actually at Columbia College. CC (again, the standard abbrev) is a small, private, women's liberal art college that is located about 10/15 minutes from the USC campus. It's a gorgeous little piece of town and is getting prettier every day with the new landscaping additions. My favorite of that being the row of palmettos planted to line "the mall" which is the large courtyard type area behind the library.

My GA is in Student Activities & Union Programs. What does that entail do you ask? Well after seven days in the office I have a better answer for you now! I co-advise the Campus Activities Board (CCAB) with my supervisor. This is a student organization that plans and executes the major traditions of the college. I'm sure you'll hear me talk plenty about the Welcome Back Party, Ludy Bowl (homecoming event), Mom's Day, Dad's Night, Spring Formal and Fun Day. These are their major events they plan and I'm so excited to experience them all! In addition I also supervise the Night & Weekends Program Coordinator who is a student worker in our office that plans and hosts about four programs a month like dancing lessons, bingo, etc., each month.

Of course that wasn't enough so I also have become involved as an Academic Success Coach, or ACE Coach (ACE being the Academic Center for Excellence, not the programming board like at UNCW!). That is about an 8-10 hour per week position where I will sit with students 1:1 to look at their current situations and help them form academic plans that will aid them in skills such as studying, time management, etc. and hopefully helping to raise their grades. I start training for this tomorrow morning and am super excited!

I'm sure there will be plenty more that will steal my time, I'm also sure I'm going to love (almost) every minute of the next two years. I am so thankful for all of the new people I've been able to meet so far, all of the amazing places I've been able to discover in Columbia, and all of the learning I've already done. There's not an hour of the day where I'm not learning and I love it.

I love HESA and am so glad to know that applying to just one grad school was a smart decision! Not only a smart one, but one of the best ones I've ever made!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Be Myself vs. Growing Up

Living by myself has definitely been a change, and it's been just barely a week today since I moved to Columbia. I find myself extremely particular about keeping everything clean, clearly knowing that if things are messy I can't blame it on anyone else! I also let the dishes pile up a bit, but not having a dishwasher has that effect as well. I'm thinking this is a part of my growing up stage. Or also the fact that I currently have nothing to do besides being in the office for training. I'm sure once the chaos hits in about two weeks it'll be a different story.

It's not that I'm naturally a messy person. I wouldn't say I'm messy or super clean. I don't like things to be a total wreck, but a little clutter or things laying around doesn't bother me that much. I think the issue I'm currently facing is there's not enough clutter to feel homey at the moment. Maybe this is a good reason to go shopping to buy more things to fill up my apartment?

I'm also working on finding new ways for organization. I made file folders at work and currently have my desk in order. I'm kind of starting to scare myself. The main issue has been though that I have like five calendars. I have my gmail, a hard calendar, my Blackberry, and then a plethora of papers with training & event dates.

I ventured to the store today to purchase a new planner in hopes of getting myself excited (by shopping and a new purchase) and committing myself to one calendar. Well two really because of course I'll keep the gmail and I learned how to sync it to my Blackberry (ah-ha moment!).

I stood and pondered the planner aisle for a good ten minutes. I found exactly what I wanted and it came in a variety of different patterns and colors. I found one that had a nice damask print and seemed very sophisticated, although pretty neutral and muted colors. I thought to myself "Now this looks like a grad student planner." When in meetings I could see myself whipping it out and seeming a bit more like a grown up.

My true self won when I walked out with the planner that has a bright floral print and pages with a rainbow colored hounds tooth print. I think (at least for now) there's no need to grow up. There's also no need to diverge from what I truly want with thoughts that something will make me seem more grown up.

I'm not quite sure why that sounded appealing in the first place, considering I have plans to find Never Never Land after graduating in Spring 2012 and never look back.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cribs: Columbia College Edition

Well I've officially been in Columbia for five days now and I've finally got some pics for you! It's been pretty low key since I've been here. Only two run-in's with the cops already.

There is currently no hot water in any of the residence halls on campus. Housing's remedy is keys for all the live-in staff to go shower at the guest house. It's right across the street so not too big of a deal. That is unless you're me and completely ignore the pamphlet that came with the key. The pamphlet that explains the alarm system and gives you the code. To disarm the alarm that went off on me for approximately ten minutes until the cops came. Whoopsies!

Besides the hot water though I'm very excited and happy about my apartment. Besides the lack of electrical outlets in the bathroom. And the fact that my front door locks behind me...*cue my second run in with the Columbia College Police Department*

Any little issues I have though are very much compensated by my ridiculously amazing closet. It is huge. For the first time in my life it's not busting full. There's tons of storage with shelves on both sides and the top. Whenever I'm feeling blue I just open the closet door, stand there and soak in its glory.

I've been in the office for two days, mainly just getting oriented to the building, staff and procedures. Then today was an all day retreat with the entire Student Affairs staff. We did a lot of ice breaker and personality test activities in true SA fashion. I'm still a strong orange-blue with "True Colors" which was good to know. The other GA in my office is also an orange so I'm sure that will make for a fun year. Our boss is a gold, hopefully she wasn't too worried!

With no further adieu here are some pictures of my apartment. It's basically two rooms, when you walk in there's a big room that is like the living/dining room and my little baby kitchen. Then there's my bedroom which is massive. You could seriously put a king size blow up mattress on the floor next to my bed. So holla if you want come visit! I know there's massive amounts of pics, but I'm sending this to friends and family so they can get an idea of what my place looks like.

Welcome :)


The living room/dining room area



The kitchen area

My bedroom










My absolutely fabulous & amazing closet

My little bathroom



Flowers on my little back porch :)

Hope you enjoyed the tour! Keep your eyes peeled for some pictures of the outside of the building, my office in the Student Center and of campus. There's some construction and landscaping going on right now so hopefully campus will be all pretty again soon. And if you want to send me any goodies let me know and I'll send you my mailing address ;)